Bad Boy Books in San Marcos hosts Book Signing Event

Bad Boy Books in San Marcos is hosting a book signing event on Thursday, February 22 at 7:00 pm. This is a great place and will be a fun evening. Click on Thursday above and check out the book store and gallery. I hope you will join us.

Murder by The Book Event Houston, Texas

Murder by The Book, an iconic independent book store in River Oaks in Houston, hosted a reading and book signing event on Saturday afternoon. The staff at the store was  extremely professional and courteous. We tried something different for the reading portion of the event. Anahuac is recorded for an audio book and we are waiting for the final editing to be completed. We had some chapters available so we played a short excerpt from the audio. As I have said before, the audio book is something new to me. Alan Adelberg, our narrator, brings the characters to life. I am way behind those of you who are old hands at listening to audio books. I liked the way it worked.  I will be doing a book event in San Marcos at Bad Boy Books on Thursday February 22 at 7 in the evening. I am looking forward to playing another excerpt from the audio book then.

Old friends Ivan and Margaret Ann Wood joined us for the signing in Houston and it is always fun to see friends at these events. We had dinner with another old friend, Ray Wright. We had breakfast this morning with Harry Wilbanks and his wife Ann. Book signings are a way to get out and meet people and promote your books. It is also a great way to catch up with old friends. Be watching your local book store. You never know where you might find me.

Author William Darling signs Anahuac at Murder by The Book

“Anahuac” will soon be an audio book

 

Picture of an Anahuac sign.

SOME DAYS in our lives represent the end and the beginning of something. Today is one of those days for me. Over the past three weeks we have been in Joel Block’s studio (The Block House) in Austin, Texas recording my latest novel Anahuac as an audio book. Today we will wrap up the recording.

The process of recording an audio book began for me with the selection of a recording studio and a producer. Joel Block was recommended to me by a knowledgeable author and was the perfect choice. Kind, patient, talented and professional are all words that come easily when I think of Joel. I would have been lost without his help.

Joel called for auditions from his list of vocal talents. Choosing a talent to read a novel is not as easy as you might think. We listened to at least ten audition tapes and pared the list to three. Those folks were kind enough to record an additional audition and from them we selected Alan Adelberg. Alan is a true professional who has brought life to the characters of Anahuac.

Courtesy of The Block House Audio Studio.

“Hearing” a book is a new thing for me. “Old school” describes me best. I want to hold the book in my hand. After listening to Alan, I have a new perspective. Audio books are not exactly like the old-time radio drama. First of all, there is only a narrator. The narrator must use nuanced voices to distinguish between speakers. The dialogue in Anahuac is sometimes fast and furious. Using subtle, but clear voices to let the listener know who is speaking is a talent and I mean a real talent. Alan has exceeded my wildest expectations. After the first session I felt like several people must be coming out of the recording booth when he finished.

Courtesy of The Block House Austin Texas

Here is a secret I didn’t know. I assumed that an audio book was read straight through without any breaks. In fact it is not possible to do that. There are pauses, unwelcome breath sounds and other interruptions that are deleted by Joel. The finished product is seamless. Joel has shared a few chapters with me to let me hear what the audio book will be. It is amazing.

There was another side benefit to recording the novel. I have been sitting with Joel with my face buried in a book I swore I couldn’t read again as we recorded it line by line. The process is slower than I could imagine and it has given me a deeper understanding of what I wrote. Sometimes I hear things that I didn’t fully understand myself while I was writing. I believe writing is more about learning to listen to something or someone unseen  than being personally brilliant.

I am thrilled to say that within a short time Joel will have the audio recording produced and you can travel to Anahuac in a different manner than reading the book. Consider traveling to Anahuac with an audio rendition. It will be fun.

Chambers County Library Book Event

 

I was recently back in Anahuac for a book event at the Chambers County Library. There were three other local authors there and we had a great time with a knowledgeable audience. I am honored that the library book club is reading Morgan’s Point this month

Chambers County Book Club

I feel strongly about an author’s responsibility to support library organizations. The Chambers County Library System is doing a great job in supporting their citizens with a modern library and a knowledgeable staff. Sue Hawthorne worked tirelessly to organize the book event.

It was great to get back to Fort Anahuac State Park and fantasize about days of yore when the Mexican Army Fort ruled Trinity Bay and William B. Travis practiced law in Anahuac. Texas revolutionary history had its beginnings at this site on 1832. The trip to Anahuac is not easy, but I recommend it. The annual Gator festival is a spring event that brings in large crowds. I hope to be there this spring.

Book Signing Anahuac

Anahuac #LoneStarLit tour concludes with spectacular reviews

I did a book signing at the delightful Deep Vellum Bookstore in  Dallas this week. That was an actual trip. While I was doing that, I was also traveling all over the state on the virtual #LoneStarLit tour. Ten professional bloggers covered my book in all: Some interviewed me, some printed excerpts from Anahuac and four provided professional reviews of my book. You can see those reviews in their entirety at Missus Gonzo‘s and the Forgotten Winds blogs, as well as Kristine Hall‘s and Ruthie Jones’ websites.

Reading by Moonlight

I am appreciative of the in-depth, honest and very positive reviews these critics gave the book. It is an amazing feeling to read a review of your work in such depth. I can truthfully say these reviewers got what I was trying to say. I didn’t start out to write a book that was heavily influenced by the plight of women in the work force in the early 1970s. The more I wrote, the more they edged their way into  the book. I suppose that its about time someone highlighted the barriers that women faced in the work force in the 1970s. Those of you who have read the book know this is not a book about sexual harassment. While that harassment was present in spades in those times, this book examines the difficulties women faced in just getting a chance to compete. Those difficulties are told in the individual stories of Sarita Jo, Cooper, Aurora and Chinky. The first step in gaining a semblance of equality was overcoming the idea that women didn’t have a real place in management and the professions. While the four strong women in Anahuac are a major part of the story, I don’t want the men in the book to get short changed. Jim, Reverend Clay, Maurice Marrow, Wells Wilson, Little Harry  and Sheriff Staunton all have their part in telling the story that has no easy answers. The blog tour was a blast. Next weekend the Chambers County Library System will hold an Author’s Event in Anahuac at the library on Saturday January 20th from 10-12. After the forecast of early week cold and snow, a weekend trip to see the world of Anahuac might be fun. Hope to see you there.

Chambers County Courthouse

Chambers County Courthouse where the fictional murder trial is conducted.

P.S. Sheriff Staunton says, “Drive slow now, you hear?”

Good Day for Anahuac

Reading by Moonlight

Finishing books, catching a typo, and being blessed with a new idea for a book are all good days. The best however is having a knowledgeable reviewer praise your work. Today is not a good day—it is a great day! As you may know I am on a virtual book tour through a group of professional bloggers who love books. Ruthie Jones’ Blog is Reading by Moonlight and she provided a review today that made it a great day. I hope you will look at her website

Review of Anahuac by Ruthie Jones  

“When you make your living with words it is hard to find moments to be silent.”

Thriller is definitely an apt description for Anahuac. The entire story is a fast train ride through the Texas legal system in the 1970s. What could be more thrilling than that?

Jim Ward is not a new character. You will find him among the pages of Book One in the A Texas Story series: Morgan’s Point. In Anahuac (pronounced Anna-whack), Jim finds himself on the defense team for a charismatic spiritual leader from Arkansas charged with the murder of someone who apparently willed an entire estate to his radio ministry. All the characters are incredibly dynamic and memorable, with nary an underdeveloped one in the bunch. Even the minor characters jump off the page!

Word of caution: the story does take place almost 50 years ago, so be prepared for a hefty dose of misogyny and some racism. Strong, successful women are treated as oddities, and a professional woman in a pantsuit is considered a disgrace; however, Anahuac has three such strong women who set the story on fire with their audacity to succeed in a “man’s world.” Welcome to Texas in the 1970s. I will say that Anahuac is unfortunately timely and timeless in its portrayal of the treatment of women in the workforce.

The story is told through Jim Ward who struggles to find his voice and purpose apart from his wife’s family’s wealth and prestige. Becoming a trial lawyer on such a high-profile case could be just what Jim needs to put his name on the map, instead of simply being referred to as Taylor Faircloth’s son-in-law.

The actual crime takes a backseat to the the events leading up to the trial and the trial itself of the Reverend Randall Clay for alleged murder. Clay is a piece of work and a thoroughly interesting character; I found myself vacillating between liking him and finding him completely frustrating. I can’t seem to make up my mind about this guy, which is a testament to William Darling’s ability to write a character that makes you laugh one minute and grit your teeth the next. And then there is Maurice Marrow, Clay’s manager. I did say the characters are dynamic!

As an added bonus, Anahuac is filled with greed, inflated egos, religious fervor, entitled attitudes, legalese, and a fair amount of humorous yet thought-provoking prose. The ending chapters, with the trial and the aftermath, are explosive, entertaining, and open for another Texas Story, I hope.   (Emphasis added)

Don’t worry readers, I won’t leave you hanging. The next book in the series is in the works!

 

 

Deep Vellum Book Store Friday January 12th Book Signing

Anahuac A Texas Story

I will be in Dallas next Friday evening January 12th from 7-9 for a reading and book signing at Deep Vellum Book Store. Deep Vellum is an iconic book store in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas at 3000 Commerce Street.

Here is an interesting history of the building I found on the Deep Vellum website.

OUR LOCATION
We’re located in the historic heart of Deep Ellum, our roots grounded in growth, tenacity, and expression. Gen X may remember our home as Club Clearview, the sign still perched in our store windows, or as the site of the inaugural Dallas Film Festival. Boomers may remember this building as a reputable storefront, or as home legendary blues and jazz artist Leadbelly, his music drifting through the alleyway at sunset. As for the Millennials – this was the site of an unregistered winery, our floors now pocked with meritage blends.

To us, it’s the site where it all begins. Where ideas are considered and discussed. Where the best & brightest mingle with the up & coming. Where Dallas unites in the vision to create a stronger, more vibrant culture.

I hope to see you at Deep Vellum.

 

Anahuac is becoming an Audio Book

I am reticent to tell you how little I know about audio books since many of you routinely “read” books in that manner. Everything I know I have learned in the past two weeks. Those of you who know me understand that holding a book in my hand is such a joy that I hadn’t explored the alternative. After listening to a few snippets from audio books I see the attraction.

Courtesy of The Block House Audio Studio.

As I told you in my last post we are working with Joel Block at his studio in Austin. I encourage you to click on the link to the studio if you have interest in seeing how audio books are produced. Joel and his wife are extremely knowledgeable and have been a delight.

I will be giving you regular updates of how Anahuac is becoming an audio book. The latest is that Joel has received several audition tapes from the talented people who do narrations. By Monday we will have tapes from everyone who is interested in being considered. The willingness of these talented narrators to vie for the job of bringing Anahuac to life is humbling.  Let me know if you have any questions about audio books.

Courtesy of The Block House Austin Texas

Anahuac now available in Book People in Austin

Book People  is a major independent book store in the heart of downtown Austin. As of today both Morgan’s Point and Anahuac can be found on the main floor both in the Texas Stories and Mysteries sections. I am honored to have the books of my series A Texas Story available in this prestigious Austin institution. Book People is a store that is noted for supporting local Austin writers and Texas based novels. This represents a big moment for me and it is much appreciated. Morgan’s Point and Anahuac are still available on Amazon in print and e-book.

Another exciting happening is the coming availabity of Anahuac in audio book. We met with Joel Block Studios here in Austin last week to begin the process. Anahuac will be recorded by a professional talent and be of the highest quality. The creation of an audio book is not as easy as it sounds. I will keep you up to date as recording progresses. If all goes as planned we should have a finished product in the spring of 2018.

Fort Anahuac Park

Fort Anahuac Park

Goodreads: Joining a Community of Readers During the Holidays

The holidays are fun, sometimes exhausting and upon us. When I find myself frazzled and unable to endure one more football game (never thought I’d say that) I plan to scurry into an unoccupied corner and read a book. It is almost as healthy as a mindfulness excercise. I guess the point of all this is if you find yourself getting a little holiday blues working, a book may be the answer.

I am not completely caught up in technology (I say as I blog) but it is amazing how technology can unite us — we can gather based on interests as well as geography.

One of the places I’ve found recently is Goodreads — it’s a community of readers (as well as writers) that does a great job of connecting people to books they might want to read. There are so many books out there, and so many good professional reviewers, but Goodreads provides a high-tech version of good, old-fashion word-of-mouth recommendations.

Of course, you can now find me on Goodreads. If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read from me — or even if you just want to announce that you WANT to read either or both of my books — Goodreads lets you do that.

The page for Morgan’s Point is here, the page for Anahuac is here, and my author page (which includes my blog) is here. I am still learning how to navigate the site, but it is fun to see what your friends are reading even if they are a thousand miles away. If the holidays get overwhelming remember that a book is an excellent friend that won’t give you an ugly sweater. Happy Holidays to all.

Sundown on Austin December 23, 2017. Trail of Lights on the right.

Sunsets, Raptors and Living in the Sky

Living in a high rise has proven to be interesting. For a man who was never fond of heights it has been an adjustment. I am adjusting and can venture out on the balcony with impunity.  The picture is from a recent sunset out our window. It is surprising how many evenings are punctuated with beautiful sunsets. 

One thing that I have had to get used to is the absence of sparrows, mocking birds and the like. None of the song birds that I see at the ranch want to fly up twenty-six floors to visit. This morning there was an epic visit from a large raptor who crashed into one of our windows. After the crash I looked out and saw a raptor flying back and forth near the balcony. I was relieved because we had several owls and other large birds fly into a picture window at our former home, some with tragic results. I told Kathy the bird had flown away and all had ended well. She took a closer look out the window and reported that there was a huge bird on the balcony. To my horror I saw a giant raptor staggering around the deck looking as if he had been in a boxing match. I cautiously opened the door and it seemed to recover. It spread its wings and flew off seemingly no worse for the crash. We are doing research now to determine what it was. It was not a red tail hawk which we have seen before. It was larger than a red tail and all chocolate brown. Let us know if you have suggestions.

So when you think of friends  who live in the sky, don’t think that the wild kingdom can’t come visit them. I’ve had enough excitement for one day. I don’t think our friend was hurt, but doubt he will be visiting us again soon.